Only We the People Can Break the Stranglehold of the NRA

Monday, December 24th, 2012
NRA Congress

Members of Congress have ranked the National Rifle Association (NRA) as the most powerful lobbying organization in the country.  The Institute for Legislative Action (ILA), the lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association of America, opposes gun-control legislation, calling instead for stricter enforcement of existing laws such as prohibiting convicted felons and violent criminals from possessing firearms and increased sentencing for gun-related crimes.

The lobby opposes any measure which it believes conflicts with the Second Amendment rights of gun owning citizens and as a matter of policy, the NRA endorses any incumbent who supports its positions and vigorously opposes incumbents and candidates who are against them.  Members of Congress rank the National Rifle Association as the most powerful lobbying organization in the country.  Their inability to fashion any sensible gun regulation confirms the influence the NRA has over members of Congress.

Even the attempted assassination of President Reagan did not spur Congress to examine gun regulations.  It took twelve years for Congress to consider and pass gun regulations.  In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed  the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, a law requiring prospective gun owners to pass a federal background check before buying a gun.  In 1994, a Democratic-controlled Congress passed the Federal Assault Weapons Ban.  The law expired in 2004 and multiple attempts to renew it have all failed.

After the Columbine massacre in 1999, the Senate approved S. 254, the Violent and Repeat Juvenile Offender Accountability and Rehabilitation Act of 1999.  The bill included provisions on background checks with a mandatory three-day waiting period for background checks at gun shows and safety locks  While the bill did passed, the Senators who sponsored the bill; senators who had received backing from the gun lobby, then voted against it.   In the House chamber, Republican leaders weakened the bill then killed it with a vote of 280 to 147.  It’s a game of charades that intentionally gives a misleading public perception.

In an attempt to mount a legislative response to Citizens United, Democrats unveiled the Disclose Act.  Among other things, it would have required groups that purchased campaign ads to disclose the identity of their donors.  But when the National Rifle Association alerted Congressmen that it would mobilize a campaign to kill the bill unless the disclose provision was dropped, Congress wrote a provision of exemptions, in order to accommodate the NRA.  While, they heavily support Republicans, there are Democrats who receive their support as well.

Hopefully, in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. massacre, the NRA’s political power is facing new challenges. Will NRA-backed Congressmen seriously consider a legislative response to gun violence? Probably not, because politicians are more concerned about reelection than the welfare of the country or the desires of the majority of its citizens.

The NRA boasts a membership of 4 million members they can activate to oppose legislation.  It occurs to me that voters who believe there should be some constraint on gun availability far outnumber the membership of the NRA.  We need to make our representatives understand that they will not be reelected if they don’t honor the desires of the majority.  Remember that we united and beat Citizens United with all its money and influence…we can also break the stranglehold of the NRA.

An American Murder Timeline

In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, there is yet another call for gun control regulations, but if past is prologue, the public will soon forget and go on to other events.  For sadly, in this country, our citizens are murdered every single day…one by one… and multiple murders happen with regularity. We must make sure this time is different and we achieve real change in reducing gun violence.

The Brad Blog gives a comprehensive timeline of the multiple killings that have occurred in this country since 1966.  The following, is a synopsis of that list.  For more information and to learn what weapons were used and the disposition of the killer, please go to The Brad Blog.

Aug. 1, 1966   Austin, TX. Charles Joseph Whitman, a 25 year-old engineering student and former Marine, killed 13 people and an unborn child, wounded 32.

July 12, 1976   37-year old Edward Charles Allaway, a paranoid schizophrenic custodian at Cal State Univ. Fullerton, killed seven people and wounded two others.

July 18, 1984   James Oliver Huberty opened fire inside the McDonald’s Restaurant in San Ysidro. He killed 21 and injured 19.

Aug. 20, 1986   Patrick Henry “Crazy Pat” Sherrill, a disgruntled US Postal Service employee in Edmond, OK murdered 14 co-workers.

Jan 17, 1989   Patrick Edward Purdy opened fire inside the Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, CA  killing eight and wounding 30.

Sept 14, 1989   Joseph T. Wesbecker killed 8 people and wounded 12 in Louisville, KY.

June 18, 1990   James Edward Pough murdered nine and wounded four employees and customers of the General Motors Acceptance Corp. in Jacksonville, FL.

Oct. 16, 1991   George Hennard of  Killeen, TX murdered 28 people and wounded 20.

July 1, 1993   Gian Luigi Ferri entered an office building at 101 California St. in San Francisco, where he murdered eight people and wounded six before committing suicide.

Dec 7, 1993   Colin Ferguson killed six people and wounded 19 on a Long Island commuter train.

Feb. 9, 1996  Clifton McRay of Ft Lauderdale gunned down five former co-workers.

Oct 1, 1997   After he murdered his mother with a kitchen knife, Luke Woodhan of  Pearl, MS killed three and wounded seven.

March 24, 1998   Mitchell Scott Johnson and Andrew Douglas Golden killed four female students and a teacher and wounded nine students and another teacher at a Middle School in Arizona.

May 21, 1998   Kip Kinkel of Springfield, murdered his parents,  two students and wounded 25.

April 20, 1999   High school students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Kleebold, 17, opened fire at Columbine H.S. near Littleton, CO, killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded 26 others.

July 29, 1999   A day trader murdered thirteen people, his wife and two children and nine inside two brokerage houses in Atlanta, GA.

Nov. 2, 1999   Byran Ayesugi entered the Xerox building in Honolulu, HA where he murdered seven people.

March 20, 2000   Robert Wayne Harris killed five people in Irving, Texas.

April 28, 2000   Immigration lawyer Richard Baumhammers, killed five people in Pittsburgh, PA.

Dec. 26, 2000   Michael “Mucko” McDermott, in Wakefield, MA shot and killed seven co-workers.

Feb. 5, 2001   William D. Baker, a former employee of Navistar International Corp. in Melrose Park, IL  killed five and injured four.

March 5, 2001   Charles ‘Andy’ Wiilliams, a 15-year old high school student killed two classmates and injured 13 others in Santee, CA

March 21, 2005   16-year old Jeffrey Weise drove to the Red Lake HS where he shot and killed seven people on campus and wounded five others.

Jan. 30, 2006    Jennifer San Marco shot and killed a neighbor in Goleta, CA,  and six others.

March 25, 2006   28-year old Kyle Aaron Huff killed six people and wounded two in Seattle.

Oct. 2, 2006   Charles Carl Roberts IV, murdered five Amish girls and injured five others at an Amish school in Lancaster County, PA.

April 16, 2007   32 people died when undergraduate Seung-Huyi Cho went on a rampage at Virginia Tech

Dec. 5, 2007   19-year old Robert A. Hawkins murdered eight people and wounded four in six minutes inside the Westroads Mall in Omaha, NE.

Feb. 14, 2008   Steven Kazmierczak entered a lecture hall at No. IL Univ. where he murdered five and injured 21.

March 10, 2009   Geneva County, AL: 28-year old Michael Kenneth McLendon, murdered 10 people, including two children.

April 3, 2009   Jiverly Antares Wong murdered eight people in Binghamton, NY.

Nov. 5, 2009   Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army Major, who was serving as a psychiatrist, killed 13 people and wounded 29 others inside Fort Hood, a military installation near Killeen, TX.

August 3, 2010   34-year old Omar Shariff Thornton murdered eight people inside a beer distribution warehouse in Manchester, CT.

Jan. 8, 2011   22-year old Jarold Lee Laughner killed six people, including a judge and a nine-year old child, and wounded 13 others in a supermarket parking lot near Tuscon, AZ.

April 2, 2012   One L. Goh killed 7 people and injured 3 at the Oikos University in Oakland, CA.

May 30, 2012   Ian L. Stawicki murdered four people inside a Univ. of WA-Seattle café, then shot another woman at a town hall and stole her SUV.

June 9, 2012   22-year old Desmonte D. Leonard, allegedly shot and killed three people, including two football players, and wounded three others, at Auburn University.

July 20, 2012   James Eagan Holmes entered the Century Theater in Aurora, CO, set off tear gas grenades before murdering 12 people and injuring 58.

Aug. 5, 2012   Wade Michael Page murdered six people and wounded four others inside a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, WI.

Sept. 27, 2012   In Minneapolis, MN, Andrew J. Engeldinger killed five people and wounded three others.

Dec. 14, 2012   20-year old Adam Lanza murdered 27 people, including 20 children, aged six and seven, inside the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT .

Dec. 21, 2012   44-year old Jeffrey Lee Michael shot and killed three people and wounded a state trooper in rural PA.